Bengaluru, April 23: Chris Lynn could not help but play a perfect outswinger delivered at around 144 kmph amidst the din of Eden Gardens. But Marcus Stoinis clanged the chance at first slip. Dale Steyn could have had wicket in the first ball on his return to the Indian Premier League. Rust? Warm-up ball? Steyn packaged accuracy and intensity in the opening ball of the match.
The next four balls exceeded the 140 kmph mark but Steyn cut the pace of the final ball of the over to 137 kmph. Lynn was early into the shot, offering a simple catch to Virat Kohli at mid-off. Steyn was pumped. Royal Challengers were pumped. In a matter of six balls, Steyn changed the mindset of Bangalore attack. And that's what great performers often do. They lift others around them.
The Bangalore pace unit consisting Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj did have pace but they lacked a guide, someone who has big match experience, someone who can tell them on the field how to approach a pressure situation. Steyn, who replaced injured Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile in RCB line-up, was not too much verbal but he showed how it is done.
Royal Challengers opener Parthiv Patel delved into the impact and importance of Steyn. "When you play T20 and get a couple of wickets in the first six overs, that makes a big difference, and I thought in the previous games that's something we were lacking and you can see the difference straightaway when we got a couple of wickets in the first two overs. He's been bowling really well, and I've seen him bowl so well for Sunrisers and Deccan Chargers, but here he came and did really well," said Parthiv.
Delighted to have Steyn back in the team - Virat Kohli— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 22, 2019
On their @RCBTweets reunion, watch what happens when @imVkohli and @DaleSteyn62 discover a 9 year old treasure! By @RajalArora. #RCBvCSK
Full video 📹 - https://t.co/JsA5MqgzCw pic.twitter.com/jP87nA3K7I
Steyn again put on a study class against the Chennai Super Kings at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. Shane Watson felt for an outswinger and this time Stoinis did not spill the opportunity at first slip. The ruthless fast bowler in Steyn was on full view in the very next ball. Suresh Raina failed to negate a yorker that reached him at 143.7 kmph and the stumps were shattered.
The Kolkata Knight Riders were 37 for three in the six power play block while the Chennai out were reduced to 28 for four after six overs. Imagine, before the arrival of Steyn, the RCB had managed to pluck just three wickets in power plays across eight games. With the South African around, the picked up seven wickets in power plays over two matches and Steyn accounted for four of them.
"He came in without any baggage. When we played the first six-seven games, the bowlers were going for a lot of runs. So eventually, they were slightly under pressure. So when he comes in, he comes in with a different energy and without any baggage of what was happened in the tournament. As I said, the way he's been bowling and talking to the youngsters, his experience also makes a lot of difference," said Parthiv.
On Wednesday (April 24), Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Kings XI Punjab at the Chinnaswamy. The Punjab team has a few bionic hitters upfront in Chris Gayle, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. On another day, RCB would have been sweating a bit thinking about bowling at them on a rather placid Bengaluru track. But now they will be more confident going into the match.
The Steyn effect!